Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 736–750 | Cite as

Active and Engaged Citizenship: Multi-group and Longitudinal Factorial Analysis of an Integrated Construct of Civic Engagement

  • Jonathan ZaffEmail author
  • Michelle Boyd
  • Yibing Li
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner
  • Richard M. Lerner
Empirical Research


Civic participation does not necessarily equate to civic engagement. However, to date, integrated measures of civic engagement that go beyond civic behaviors have not been developed. In this article, we propose an integrated construct of civic engagement, active and engaged citizenship (AEC), that includes behavioral, cognitive, and socioemotional constructs. Using data from 909 adolescents (62.4% girls) who took part in the Grades 8–10 assessments of the longitudinal 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), we assessed the structure and measurement invariance of AEC. AEC was proposed as a second-order latent construct that encompasses four first-order latent factors: Civic Duty, Civic Skills, Neighborhood Social Connection, and Civic Participation. Measurement invariance was tested over time (from Grade 8 to Grade 10) and between boys and girls. The results supported strong invariance of AEC over time and between sexes. Implications of AEC for future research and practice are discussed.


Civic engagement Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) Measurement invariance Multi-group CFA Longitudinal research Adolescence 



This research was supported in part by a grant from the National 4-H Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Zaff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle Boyd
    • 2
  • Yibing Li
    • 2
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner
    • 3
  • Richard M. Lerner
    • 2
  1. 1.America’s Promise AllianceWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Tufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Boston CollegeBostonUSA

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